THE Supreme Court yesterday ordered the physical closure of first and second level courts in six more provinces after the areas were placed under Alert Level 3 by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases due to rising COVID-19 cases.
Under OCA (Office of the Court Administrator) Circular 23-2022, courts in Palawan, Camiguin, Davao Occidental, Dinagat Islands, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu will be closed to court users from January 28 to February 15.
All in-court proceedings are suspended but videoconferencing may proceed on important matters such as inquest, bail hearings, promulgation of acquittals and dismissals in criminal cases, habeas corpus petitions, among other seriously important matters.
Alert Level 3 allows some businesses to operate but at reduced capacity.
Cinemas, movie houses and other businesses are allowed to operate at 30% indoor venue capacity and 50% outdoor venue capacity.
Most activities, including gatherings for wakes and funerals, are allowed at 30% indoor venue capacity and 50% outdoor venue capacity.
On Thursday, the Department of Health reported 18,191 new COVID-19 cases, hence, pushing the caseload to 3,493,447.